The Cards continued to get off to a hot start in 2012 as they went into Milwaukee to take 2 of 3 games. So far, there doesn’t appear to be a lot of rust on the bats, except for when they faced Zack Greinke. A couple of things stand out. One is that Tyler Greene has only played in one game when they faced lefty Randy Wolf yesterday. I got the impression the Greene would play about every other game instead of righty-lefty matchups. The other is that Mike Matheny used the same lineup for the first 3 games.
Game 1 featured 4 HR’s by the Cards behind a solid start from Jaime Garcia. Garcia went 6 innings, giving up only 2 ER’s. Yadier Molina, Carlos Beltran, Matt Holliday and David Freese all went deep. The Cards also continued to be aggressive on the bases, with Furcal and Beltran each getting a SB. Mitchell Boggs pitched 2 scoreless innings, but Kyle McClellan gave up 3 ER’s in his only IP. There was a scuffle when George Kottaras ran into Daniel Descalso, and was later plunked by McClellan. There’s no way it was intentional though, as the ball that hit Kottaras was a curveball. Aside from J.C. Romero and McClellan being ineffective, it was a solid game as the Cards won 11-5.
Game 2 was the moment we’ve all been waiting for. Adam Wainwright returned to the mound in his first start back from TJS and pitched pretty well. His line of 5 and 2/3 innings, giving up 3 ER’s and striking out 6 while only allowing one walk was encouraging. His control was better than I had hoped for as he got 9 groundball outs against one fly out. That’s a great sign going forward. The offense was kept off the board by Greinke. Of the 6 hits the Cards got, 2 were by Freese and 2 were from Jon Jay. All 6 hits were singles, and Greinke is now 13-0 in Miller Park. Fernando Salas got touched for 2 ER’s on 3 hits in 2/3 of an inning. Brewers win 6-0.
For the final game of the series, the Brewers altered their rotation, sending Randy Wolf to the mound instead of Shaun Marcum because of the problems the Cards have had against soft tossing lefties over the last few years. This time, the Cards made them pay for it. Wolf only got through 5 innings, giving up 9 hits and 3 ER. Lance Lynn let it fly, routinely touching 94 MPH on his fastball throughout the game and mixing in his breaking stuff really well. In 6 and 2/3 innings, Lynn only gave up 2 hits, 1 ER, 1 walk and struck out 7. The Cards pounded out 14 hits for the game, and Beltran hit his 2nd HR of the year. Shane Robinson played CF in place of Jay, and connected on a 3-run HR in the 9th. Rafael Furcal raised his average to .526 with 3 more hits, and it’s starting to look like his lingering problems from his appendectomy are over. Cards win 9-3.
The Cards now sit at 3-1 and head to Cincinnati today. The new, slimmed down Jake Westbrook kicks off the series with his first start of the year. A hot start is exactly what the 2012 Cards team needed. It seems a few arms in the BP aren’t quite as sharp as we had hoped, but the SP and the offense seem to be in midseason form. The Cards were 6-12 against the Brew Crew last year in the regular season, and it looks like so far the subtractions in the offseason are not affecting the team. If the Cards can keep Joey Votto and Jay Bruce off base they could easily come home 5-2.